General discussion


Does your company require a pre-employment test?

By geekchic ·
I am getting ready to fill a position and was wondering if anybody out there requires potential employees to take some type of assessment test? I have given a basic computer skills test the last 4 times that I have filled positions but 2 of the ones that I hired quit after a few weeks and 1 I had to let go because they just couldn't seem to remember to come to work...duh. The 4th one fortunately has been an absolute blessing to me and enjoys what she is doing!

So besides an interview and written test what else is there? Do you call references? I haven't had much luck with doing that either. Seems most people nowadays are afraid to say anything about former employees or even friends because they fear a lawsuit for defamation of character!

Any ideas?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Depends on the role

by Tig2 In reply to Does your company require ...

I frequently interview with other PMs because they can provide a peer based review of my skills to the prospective employer. As there is no way to really test a PM short of the Project+ or PMP, this is the best approach.

When I am hiring, I try to do much the same. Whiel I don't find written tests effective, I do find that a peer can give me really good insight to a person't capabilities.

Unfortunately, there are flakes everywhere that can interview well. Getting any information from references is hopeless- the only question that you can ask is "is this person eligible for re-hire?" And frankly the answer to that question is worth the price of admission to me. If they aren't, I want to be wary.

Collapse -

I like to invite them to lunch and to play a game of chess.

by X-MarCap In reply to Does your company require ...

If they can play for a while it simplifies my choices. I can find out their concentration and their skills at planning...

Collapse -

What if they cant play chess?

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to I like to invite them to ...

Then what do you two, two player Tetris DS?

Collapse -

So far (27 years) nobody has not played

by X-MarCap In reply to What if they cant play ch ...

Some play badly, or barely know the rules, or are rusty, but everybody should play chess. Shah Mat.

Collapse -

Yes...SKill tests

by Maevinn In reply to Does your company require ...

My current place doesn't but my last place did--I wrote the test for the secretary position as well as for filling my own position when I left. It wsan't a written thing; more like a lab exam. We gave the test to those applicants that met the job requirements on paper, and used it to reduce the number of people to interview (honestly, if you're claiming to be in IT and can't figure out how to use a thumb drive, you shouldn't be applying). The test was just one factor, and it was very effective for confirming skills they claimed on their resumes that were applicable for the position.

Some sample questions:
1. Modify query X to limit the results where value X is in column Y.
2. Add the following record to Table A.
3. Create a simple form to display all the records in Table C.

They were given the database and the query, just had to know the basics.

Collapse -

I like the chess game

by mjd420nova In reply to Does your company require ...

Sounds like one I'll try. We usually use a simple skills test, like working with very small set screws and allen keys. We also use a peer review by having one of the senior people do a simple question and answer sample. Seldom call previous employers as that can be easily tainted. If they don't work out in the field then we try them on the bench and the last will be the $hit detail, if they can't hack that then it's the door. Yeah, there are a few who just can't seem to show up on time and some who feel they are to good to do the work. Remember, WORK is a four letter word.

Collapse -


by Oz_Media In reply to Does your company require ...

BEFORE I leave a company, usually if they offer an anual review, I will request a letter of recommendation...just in case. Many employers will not offer one after you leave, others wil become old on your resume, perhaps out of business or even passed on.

Get a letter of reference while you still work there. That way even old employers comments will still attract attention.

I do my resume a lot like a press release, I offer client quotes and sentences from testimonials in my covering letter.

Company logos on your main resume and you will ALWYA get called back, I normally get about a 90-95% response rate to all resumes I send out, plus I target who I am sending them to.

As far as pretests, it depends on th ejob.. I find the US far mroe difficult than Canada, here they really focus on WHO you as opposed to WHAT you learned.

But we do have typing tests for entry level clerical, admin positions but it seems not too much else. the best pretest is always a one on one interview, if properly conducted by the right person and not some HR yahoo without a clue.

Collapse -

the most I've had to do

by jck In reply to Does your company require ...

For my position with a government contractor:

-Interviewed with 9 people in 6.5 hours, including tech Q&A with 4 of the S/W engineers
-Filled out the big-*** government profile doc (SF-72?)
-Drug screen twice
-security interview
-clearance investigation interview
-lots of benefits paperwork

Don't be afraid to ask "out of the box" questions too. Helps someone relax sometimes, and you can throw in a technical one too that helps you see who is a creative thinker.

I was once, in a programming interview, asked:
What port would your FTP server use?

My answer:
Whatever I set it to.

Most people say 21, because that is default.

Don't look for someone who can answer the standard line of questions. That might help you find someone who is quick on their toes and can think outside what the certification book or textbook told them was the right answer.

Collapse -

Book knowledge, not real skill set

by jimmie.kepler In reply to Does your company require ...

We require testing in some areas. Our HR takes care of most of that in pre screening. We ask lots of oral questions during the interview process. Too often we find book knowledge, not real skill set. Sort like a person with paper certification. They can explain the text book solution, but cannot implement the solution with a customer.

Collapse -

I'm with you

by Prefbid II In reply to Does your company require ...

My current company only requires skill tests for entry level positions. It's hard to test senior positions in the same way since everyone's expertise develops out of their experiences more than out of specific textual knowledge.

On the other end, I have had to take a 6 hour psychology profile for a position once. It was actually rather interesting and I learned a lot. I'd do that one again some time just to see if I've gotten crazier over time.

Overall, the best method is still the interview. I'm constantly learning better ways to ask questions. I like to ask questions that require problem solving skills, but don't necessarily have to do with the job that they are applying for. The chess game idea above I think would qualify. I know of other people who like to ask the kinds of questions that you would expect someone at least one position higher to be able to answer -- in order to see how close that person is to the next higher position.

I had one boss who was incredible at interviewing people. I wish I had his skill. He would ask philosophy questions that he seemed to make up on the spot, but somehow they always related to the job being interviewed for.

Related Discussions

Related Forums